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Getting the Conversation Going: Oxfam outreach during festival season in Toronto

by Oxfam | August 5, 2011


by Jolene Cushman

When you start talking to people about food, they always have lots to say.

Over the past weeks, Oxfam volunteers have been at a number of great festivals in the Toronto area, engaging festival-goers in the GROW campaign and issues of food security. We were at Pride Toronto, Afro Fest, Live Green and a handful of local farmers markets. What each event had in common were lots of people ready to talk about food and why almost a billion people go to bed hungry every night.

Land grabs. Rising costs of food. Environmental degradation. Food crises. Everyone has an issue they immediately identify when you start talking about a broken food system. Food is a part of our everyday life.

At Afro Fest, we met a vibrant young woman named Danielle. In grade 2 and more articulate than most adults, Danielle wanted to help us talk to people about food and give them GROW materials. Before we could even stop her, she grabbed one of our carrot costumes, pulled it over her head and loudly declared, “I am a carrot from local farmers!” This is the sort of thing we want to hear.

Let’s get the food conversation going. Food is intimately entwined in our daily lives. Let’s make the conversations about where our food comes from – how’s it’s produced and how we can build a resilient, sustainable, equitable food system – as much a part of our lives, as our conversations about what’s for dinner.

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